Citing the agency’s own errors in the handling of a request for emails of four former aides to Hillary Clinton, the State Department is asking a federal judge to extend the deadline to complete processing of the records by more than two years.
Justice Department lawyers notified U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras on Wednesday that State will be unable to meet the court-ordered deadline of July 21 in the lawsuit the conservative group Citizens United brought earlier this year seeking emails ex-State Department officials Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Melanne Verveer and Michael Fuchs exchanged with individuals at the Clinton Foundation or a firm with ties to the Clintons, Teneo Consulting.
The government lawyers asked Contreras to give State an additional 27 months— until October 2018—to finish work on the request, processing documents at a rate of about 500 pages a month.
State FOIA official Eric Stein said the agency thought in March that searches turned up about 6,000 documents potentially responsive to the request and that fewer than half of those were likely to be ultimately responsive after duplicates were culled out.
However, in recent months, “the Department discovered errors in the manner in which the searches had been conducted in order to capture documents potentially responsive to Plaintiff’s requests,” Stein told the judge in a written declaration. One office he did not further identify searched only the ‘from’ and ‘to’ fields of messages, meaning that forwarded messages involving the individuals identified by Citizens United might not have been captured.

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The private meeting rekindles concerns about a possible conflict of interest while his wife is under federal investigation.
By Louis Nelson, Burgess Everett and Nick Gass

Attorney General Loretta Lynch described her Monday meeting with Bill Clinton aboard a private plane as “primarily social,” but some Democrats are struggling to stomach the optics of the attorney general’s meeting with the former president while his wife is under federal investigation — while others are fiercely defending her integrity.
Lynch said she and Clinton talked only of grandchildren, golf, and their respective travels, but the fact that the two spoke privately at all was enough to rekindle concerns about a possible conflict of interest. Republicans have long called into question the ability of a Democratic-led Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, based inside her Chappaqua, New York, home, during her tenure as secretary of state.

Once news of their meeting on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport broke, Democrats made clear that while the meeting was likely as innocent as Lynch described, it did not give the Justice Department the appearance of independence.
“I do agree with you that it doesn’t send the right signal,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Thursday in response to a question about the meeting from CNN “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota. “She has generally shown excellent judgment and strong leadership of the department, and I’m convinced that she’s an independent attorney general. But I do think that this meeting sends the wrong signal and I don’t think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear, even of a brief, casual social meeting with the former president.”
David Axelrod, a former top aide to President Barack Obama, tweeted that he took Lynch and the former president “at their word” that the Justice Department’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server did not come up, “but foolish to create such optics.”
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was not convinced by the attorney general’s assurances, attacking the judgment of both Lynch and Bill Clinton. The Manhattan billionaire decried the meeting as “terrible,” “horrible,” “amazing” and “really a sneak” in a radio interview with “The Mike Gallagher Show.”

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For those still on the fence, come on, it’s not that hard
by Eddie Zipperer

Even as the anti-globalization wave is building to tsunami proportions with Britain’s exit from the E.U., a group of GOP delegates are plotting to change the convention rules to stop Donald Trump’s nomination in Cleveland — and the #NeverTrump media pundits couldn’t be giddier.

Some in the conservative intelligentsia have turned into mad (political) scientists right before our eyes. They’re hunched over test tubes in secret laboratories devising a way to allow a handful of delegates on the Republican National Committee rules committee to try to overrule the democratic process and effectively un-nominate Donald Trump. Their perpetual uber-gripe has been that Trump is authoritarian, and they continue making that gripe even as they bend democracy to fit their whims — as if the opinion of a few pundits and some party delegates is of greater value than the opinion of 13 million voters.

For those who don’t like Trump — but also don’t want to trade in democracy for oligarchy by deposing him — here’s a step-by-step guide to supporting Donald Trump:

STEP ONE: Be humbled by democracy, because respecting the results of elections has gotten us pretty far. David French is a clever lawyer, and he can sit around at National Review devising legal detours around the voters all day long, but that doesn’t make it right.

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By Mark Hensch

Hillary Clinton has a slim 2-point national lead over Donald Trump in the race for the White House, according to a new national poll.

Clinton edges out Trump, 42 to 40 percent, in the Quinnipiac University survey released early Wednesday.

The thin gap remains when third-party candidates are included, with Clinton squeaking past Trump, 39 to 37 percent. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson earns 8 percent in that scenario, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein nabs 4 percent.
Pollsters also found voters are deeply dissatisfied with the climate surrounding the 2016 presidential election.

Sixty-one percent say it has “increased the level of hatred and prejudice in the U.S.,” with only 34 percent seeing “no impact.”

Of those who see hatred and prejudice rising, 67 percent blame Trump’s campaign and 16 percent point to Clinton’s campaign.

Wednesday’s results additionally found 58 percent believe Trump would not make for a good president, while 35 percent say he would.

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By Harper Neidig and Jonathan Swan

A super-PAC backing Hillary Clinton has accepted $200,000 in donations from a company holding multiple contracts with the federal government — despite a ban on such contributions.

According to a review of contributions by The Hill, Boston-based Suffolk Construction made two contributions of $100,000 to Priorities USA, which is backing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

At the time it made the contributions, Suffolk held multiple contracts worth $976,560 with the Department of Defense for maintenance and construction projects at a Naval base in Newport, R.I., and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., according to the government website
Suffolk — which, by Forbes’s estimate, brings in some $2 billion in revenue annually — also donated $10,000 in 2015 to Right to Rise, a super-PAC that supported Republican Jeb Bush’s now-defunct presidential bid.

The donations from Suffolk highlight how a 70-year-old campaign finance law meant to prevent pay-to-play deals between public officials and companies making money from the government is often ignored by those making the donations and those on the receiving end.

The two contributions, one made in July and one in December, came during Clinton’s presidential primary battle with Bernie Sanders, who rose to prominence partly because he railed against super-PACs and the wealthy donors who fund them.

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Published June 28, 2016

BREAKING: Close to 50 people were killed and dozens more were injured when three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s main international airport Tuesday night, a senior official said.

The Associated Press, quoting an anonymous Turkish official, reported that “nearly” 50 people were dead in the blasts at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported that around 60 people were injured, six of them seriously. A Turkish official told Reuters that the “vast majority” of victims were Turkish, but some foreigners were also affected.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the same senior Turkish official told AP that initial indications suggested the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) were behind the attack. According to Reuters, a police source also told the Dogan News Agency, “ISIS is behind the attack.” There was no immediate formal confirmation from the Ankara government.

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A damning report authored by the Republican-led House committee probing the Benghazi terror attacks faulted the Obama administration for a range of missteps before, during and after the fatal 2012 attacks – saying top administration officials huddled to craft their public response while military assets waited hours to deploy to Libya.

The report released Tuesday pointedly blamed a “rusty bureaucratic process” for the slow-moving response the night of the attack. The report said despite orders from President Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to deploy, the first military force did not do so until more than 13 hours after the attack started.

The report said one anti-terrorism security team known as the FAST unit sat waiting for three hours in Rota, Spain, as Marines changed “in and out of their uniforms four times,” and even debated whether they should carry personal weapons, according to one witness. All together, the report said, “it would take nearly 18 hours” for that team to move.

The report described a web of internal debates and hold-ups, including apparent State Department guidance that “Libya must agree to any deployment,” though Panetta would later say Libya approval was not necessary.

While various officials debated how to proceed, U.S. personnel were under attack at two sites in Benghazi.

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